Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Week 9!

Lovelies! Happy Turkey Day to you all! I stuffed my face full of soooo much food this last week and I hope you did too. I also animated a bit of course, but I will say these past two weeks have been busy and it's been a bit tough staying on top of school stuff. As a result, I'm behind schedule with this shot, and it's still in blocking this week:

Marlon hit the nail right on the head during his feedback this week. He said it seemed like I'd been really busy for the past two weeks with CTN and Thanksgiving, and I hadn't put in as much time as usual. Week 9 kind of snuck up on me and I didn't anticipate having so little time for AM last week. But with family visiting, a major holiday, work, and my mother's birthday, my week was jam packed.

Marlon gave me a much needed kick in the butt during my e-critique, reminding me that I needed to really push myself and make the most out of my time at AM. So, I'm kicking it into high gear this week and catching myself up so that I can finish the term strong. Still lots of work to do on this shot, but I'm excited to start digging in! Come back next week to see what I've done with it!

Monday, November 26, 2012

CTN! Or, the best four days of my life so far.

OH MAAAAAN. Any of you that follow me on any kind of social media have already gotten a taste of this, but just take a moment to mentally prepare yourself anyways.

Okay, ready?


Ahem. Okay. I can't really put my incredible experience this last weekend into words but I am certainly going to try. I flew in on Wednesday so I could have a day to mentally prepare myself for the convention. Ha, no I'm joking, I actually just watched Game of Thrones with Hillary and Katie Rose (my lovely and gracious hosts), and we stayed up until the wee hours of the morning talking about which books from middle school were our favorites (Whirlygig, look it up). So, Wednesday was lovely and the con hadn't even started!

On Thursday, I started the day with chocolate pie and coffee (obviously) and then was off to tour Disney! They unfortunately don't let you take photos (though they took one of the tour group, which I will throw on here if I ever find it) but trust me when I say it was uh-mazing. The studio is incredible inside and they even let us sneak a peek at some concept art for Frozen, which is coming out next year! It looks very snowy and good and I can't wait to see it. We also saw lots of Wreck-It Ralph stuff, including small scale model of a set piece from Sugar Rush (the candy-based kart racing game from Wreck-It Ralph) that was made from actual candy. So. Cool.

So on Thursday night I was lucky enough to get into a Rise of the Guardians screening at DreamWorks, which was really cool! The little bit of the Glendale DreamWorks campus that I got to see was beautiful and the theater was really nice. And the film was fantastic! The animation in particular was incredible, so many great acting moments. And I snagged a picture afterwards!

And only one guy at the bar afterwards gave me
grief about my shirt!
So, in short, Thursday was awesome. It got me all excited for the start of CTN the next day, and let me tell you, things started off with a bang! Brenda Chapman gave the opening talk, which was fantastic. She talked about why she loves telling stories, how her parents influenced her, how she got her start at Disney (kind of a ridiculous story, you can read about it on her blog), and even touched the whole Brave issue a bit. I know CTN was recording all the lectures, so it may end up online somewhere and if so you should definitely check it out! After her talk, she did a little meet and greet in the lobby and I worked up the nerve to introduce myself. I mentioned Lady Animators to her and said I'd love to interview her (though she isn't an animator, I figured I can make an exception for her). I thanked her for telling the incredible stories she does and she was kind enough to take a photo.

I might look composed, but I was freaking out on the inside.

It was so amazing meeting her! She's a huge role model of mine and a great, great storyteller. And so began the first official hour of CTN. Not bad, right? I spent most of the rest of the day wandering the exhibit floor, talking to exhibitors, and drooling over all the pretty art. I did buy one actual gift in the form of a Harry Potter print by Peter Emmerich for Hillary and Katie Rose. The rest of my purchases though, all early Christmas presents for myself. These included a Korra print from Stevie Lewis of DreamWorks, a Catwoman print from Bobby Rubio of Pixar, and a Link bookmark from Jed Henry, whose amazing ukiyo-e Nintendo prints I had seen online.

Then on Friday night, AM and ReelFX hosted a networking party and I was lucky enough meet Glen Keane! I managed to keep myself from turning into a puddle of goo long enough to snag a picture with him and Mike Cedeno, another Disney veteran animator and a really nice guy.

Right before my brain exploded.
Like with Brenda Chapman, it took a lot of self control not just yell "THANK YOU FOR MAKING MY CHILDHOOD SO WONDERFUL" and then running off to hyperventilate in a corner of the hotel lobby. He was kind and lovely and I am so happy I got to meet him!

I also got to meet Marlon on Friday! Very exciting to meet him in real life. He said he usually doesn't make it to the conventions so it was cool to actually meet some of his students for once.

And thank you Loren for the awesome photobomb.

I don't have quite as many pictures from Saturday but it was just as awesome! I hung out with a bunch of awesome AM people and ate a surprisingly good Subway sandwich for lunch but the highlight of the night was Glen Keane's incredible talk. And that one girl who was in tears when he showed the pencil test of "Part of Your World" from the Little Mermaid? Me. Totally me.

And I got to meet my next term's mentor, Mike Stern, on Saturday as well! He's an animator at Dreamworks in Glendale and is an alum from the very first class at AM. He did a talk with Bobby Beck on life in a studio environment, which was fantastic. I signed up for the Class 3 pilot that Mike's teaching next term, which I'm super excited for! It's a Collaborative Advanced Body Mechanics class, so all the shots from all of us will link up, sort of like making a short film with Mike as our director. 

Class 3 here we coooome!

Sunday was lovely as well, with a big highlight being that I got to meet Ryan Woodward, the insanely talented animator behind "Thought of You" which I'm embedding because if you haven't watched it, you have no excuse now.

As you can see, the man is an incredible talent. So glad to have met him! He gave a lecture about the animated graphic novel app he just completed called "Bottom of the Ninth", which is awesome. Go buy it! A futuristic baseball story about a female pitcher who throws 112 mph? How do you not want to read that story, come on! Get yourself to the app store, pronto.

So on Sunday night, I hopped on a plane back home, but I really think I could have flown all the way back to Norcal without the plane, my weekend was that incredible. If you ever have the chance to go to CTN, animator or otherwise, GO. If you work in, appreciate, or even just like animation, you will be blown away by the talent and inspiration you'll find there. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Twofer! Weeks 7 + 8

OKAY SO HI. It's been an insane whirlwind couple of weeks and I am about still coming down from my CTN high so please bear with me!. I've been slacking a bit, I know. But now you get two weeks worth of homework all in one post! Brace yourself.

To ease you in, I'll show you my polished Stewie run (from two weeks ago):

Marlon was quite pleased with this and only had a minor note or two on how I could polish it further. I had a bit of a rough time with shot through the middle part of my workflow (namely Blocking Plus) but I am overall quite happy with the finished product. Not bad for my first run, all things considered. 

In addition to polishing our shot, we also had to plan our next shot in Week 7. For this last shot, Marlon gave us the go ahead to do something a little wacky if we felt like it. So, I ended up deciding on doing a shot with Stewie trying to pull the sword from the stone, but it won't budge (a variation on the popular "trying to open a stuck door" shot). He pulls and pulls, and ends up breaking the handle off the sword. I figured, it'll be a funny little story and a good body mechanics workout.

So I went to town on one of the door handles in my house and cut together the best bits for my video reference.

The weird cuts are there to make it fit within the frame limit, but overall I liked the buildup and the general idea of the poses, but I knew that I was going have to modify/push the poses quite far from the reference. So, since I had time and I knew CTN would take up my upcoming weekend, I did a little pencil test of my blocking to get a head start:

I liked this much more as a base to go off of once I got Maya open and plus it was really fun to do. From this and my video reference, I did some planning sketches. We had a lecture on force in drawing this week, which was really helpful to me in drawing my poses for this shot:

I hope you are still enjoying my chicken-scratch/fifth grader handwriting.

Okay! Onto Week 8! Here is my (rough) blocking from last week. For this shot, we have an additional week and Marlon told us we could use it wherever we wanted. Because of CTN, I chose to use mine this week and spread my blocking out over two weeks since I knew my weekend was going to be jam-packed and I would have only a little time for animating. ANYWHO, here is what I was able to get through before the deadline hit:

This is quite a bit rougher than I would have liked, though I was able to see Marlon at CTN and warn him accordingly and he was very understanding. I've already gotten feedback on this and he is mostly giving me acting notes at this point, which is encouraging since thinking about acting in Class Two is a bit ahead of the game.

Whoo! Okay that concludes this double header post. CTN is going to get a post of its very own so be on the lookout for that soon! It's gonna be a GOOD ONE.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Week 6 (Half-Way!) and a Lady Animators Update

Where does the time go? I'm already half done with Class Two! How did that happen? I guess we'll NEVER KNOW. So, this week was significantly less busy than the last one, since I do not go to Vegas. BUT I did parade around in a Wonder Woman costume on Wednesday night, which was lots of fun.

And of course, I worked on my shot. This week moved in Blocking Plus, which is always scary and exciting. Things are really moving! But they look kind of bad! Make it look better! Ah! Keeping those four exclamatory sentences constantly in mind, this is what I came up with this week:

To be honest, this week was a bit of a struggle. I got a bit overwhelmed with cleaning up the graph editor, which was a tall order since I set so many keys when blocking. The is by and far the hardest shot I've ever done terms of physicality and I'm still seeing a million things I want to fix. And while it was hard, I'm proud of where I got though I think I've got a lot of polishing to do next week.

In other news, I've put up two more interviews over on Lady Animators! I spoke to Rachel Hanson and Julie Nelson, who both work at DreamWorks and are both fantastic, talented people. Click on over there to learn about how sad Rachel gets when the only "J" available at work for a PB&J is the orange marmalade flavor and read about allll the velociraptors Julie has animated. 

Well that's all this week, loves. Come back next week for another double-header: my polished shot AND planning/reference for my next one. Whoo! See you then!